So there was a small pile of my father's stuff we took back from the nursing home; and there, right on the top, was this (I've blurred out both his name and the name of our town):
That's right, the man who turned his acre and a half yard into a junkyard full of rusting cars, rotting lumber, leaking engines, fifty-five gallon drums of parts cleaner, buckets of broken glass, containers of waste oil and dirty gasoline and miscellaneous toxic substances (such as that ancient bottle of muriatic acid Tara and I had to deal with) was on the local Conservation Commission for more than twenty years. And when he retired from that, the town gave him a fucking plaque.
I have two questions. One, what were the town officials thinking when they gave this to him? They had to note the mind-blowing irony of the situation, right? And two, if they genuinely didn't, what the fuck were they smoking? I mean I know this is a small town, but reality is still reality, isn't it? They were otherwise after him to clean up the yard, so it's not like they didn't know. I mean, not like anyone driving past the house wouldn't know.
For my father's part I'm sure he saw no irony in it at all. I'm also quite sure that the reason he was on the Conservation Commission in the first place was not actually out of concern for the environment, but because he was a busybody who wanted to know what other people in town were doing on their property, as the Conservation Commission oversees things like permits and the regulations around wetlands and the like.
He was also on the Soil Board, for that matter, which is very much concerned with the quality of the soil, you know, like whether it might be contaminated with dirty oil, or brake fluid, or gasoline, or transmission fluid, or parts cleaner...